‘That’s what being a Longhorn is about’: Students rise and shine early for UT vs. Alabama game

Ali Juell, Senior News Reporter

Darrell K Royal-Texas Stadium saw thousands of students arrive hours before the 11 a.m. kickoff Saturday to secure a spot in the student section for the UT vs. Alabama game, which set an attendance record with over 105,000 people present

While waiting in line, students could be heard chanting “TEXAS, FIGHT” and booing Alabama fans as they passed by. Security was present to manage the crowd as they prepared to enter.

University communications announced that students could line up for the game starting at 5:30 a.m. and, per University policy, overnight camping prior to the game was not permitted. Big Ticket holders were not guaranteed entry into the stadium. 

Despite the possibility of not getting into the game even after waiting, Mayan Watson, an exercise science and kinesiology freshman, said she didn’t want to sit at home knowing she missed out.

“I felt like everyone else was coming so I was like, ‘You know what? I guess I should come,’ and I feel like in a few years I’ll kick myself for not even trying to get into the biggest game,” Watson said. “My hopes are pretty low that I’m gonna get in, if I’m gonna be honest. Everyone’s just cutting, including me. I 100 percent cut this line.”

Journalism sophomore Seth Berger said UT playing the No. 1 college football team in the nation was a memory he couldn’t pass up, even if it meant getting to the game earlier than usual.

“Just the thought of potentially going out there and beating Alabama on a beautiful Saturday in September,” Berger said. “That (is what) keeps me in line.”

Trish Gonzalez, an organizer for one of the company-sponsored tailgates, said she’s been attending UT sporting events for her job for around six years, but the energy Saturday morning was “a wild ride, man.” She said she started setting up around 5:30 in the morning, right when many students were arriving at the stadium.

“They all come in waves,” Gonzalez said. “The energy is so unreal. It’s just awesome, you have to be a part of it.”

Business freshman Jerry Wang said the line was worth the wait if it meant getting to attend a historic game, no matter the final outcome.

“I’ve been out here since five (in the morning),” Wang said. “I got two hours of sleep. We’re here, we’re rallying, we’re supporting our team. That’s what being a Longhorn is about.”